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Amy Johnson

Assistant Professor

PhD, Stanford University, 2023

MA, Stanford University, 2019

BA, Wellesley College, 2017

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Research Areas

Research Statement

My primary line of research applies a cultural sociology lens to contextualize long-term trends in mental health and treatment in the United States. I focus on changing understandings and beliefs at the macro level and how they influence individuals’ behaviors and decision-making. In my first book project, I am using computational and qualitative text analysis and custom text datasets of newspaper articles and Reddit fora to analyze how news media and individuals think about and make sense of mental health and illness over time. My other research on mental health uses the National Health Interview Survey to assess trends in psychological distress and treatment-seeking behaviors.

In a second line of collaborative research, I explore how young adults’ gender beliefs are informed by cultural ideas of individualism and agency and contribute to persistent gender inequality by directing young adults away from structural solutions. The project, which uses longitudinal interview and survey data, is still ongoing and findings have been published in Social Problems and Sociological Perspectives.


Amy Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Sociology. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from Wellesley College and her PhD in Sociology from Stanford University. Her research and teaching interests include health, cultural change, social media, gender, and quantitative and computational methods. Currently, she is writing a book using computational text analysis of newspapers and social media to explore understandings of mental health and illness over the last several decades.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Carian, Emily K. and Amy L. Johnson. 2022. “The Agency Myth: Persistence in Individual Explanations for Gender Inequality.” Social Problems. 69(1):123-42.

Johnson, Amy L. and Rebecca Gleit. 2022. “Teaching for a Data-Driven Future: Intentionally Building Foundational Computing Skills.” Teaching Sociology. 50(1):49-61.

Johnson, Amy L. 2021. “Changes in Mental Health and Treatment, 1997-2017.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 62(1):53-68.


SOC/HMS 160 Medicine and Society
SOC/HMS 191 Sociology of Mental Health